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'Anyone not on the pitch feels they can add something': Murphy fresh and ready to make history in Port Elizabeth

Jamie Heaslip will be joined by Jordi Murphy and CJ Stander again this weekend.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IT’S “MAKE OR break” time for Ireland against the Springboks this weekend, says Jordi Murphy.

The Leinster flanker has returned to the fold having sat out the frenetic 32-26 defeat at Ellis Park with Rhys Ruddock assuming the openside duties in Johannesburg.

Murphy ​has been​ reunited with CJ Stander and Jamie Heaslip in the Irish back row after the trio were selected en bloc for the opening Test at Newlands. Murphy and Heaslip put in huge shi​fts​ that night after Stander’s early card, but ​with this combination reinstated for th​e​ series decider, Murphy is eyeing a shot at glory in Port Elizabeth.

“It would be history,” said 25-year-old, “we’re just thinking about winning the game and that would mean making a bit of history. Not many teams come down here do that, get a series win against the Springboks so​…​ there’s no second chances after this weekend.

​”​It’s make or break for everyone so we’ll worry about the game first and then if we manage to do it after than it will be some achievement, something to savour for years after.”

Jordi Murphy celebrates after the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The return of Stander is a much-needed boost to this Irish squad having lost Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne ​to injury ​this week.

Stander’s 23rd minute dismissal at Newlands and his subsequent one-week ban for his collision with Pat Lambie has limited the Munster flanker’s involvement in this tour thus far, but all that is set to change this weekend.

“He’s been raring to go. Sure he was raring to go when he couldn’t play the week before,” said Murphy.

“He’s that kind of player, he gives 100% on the pitch, as everyone knows. He gives 100% in training as well. No, it’s great to see him involved again.”

Jordi Murphy Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Along with the likes ​of​ Keith Earls, Luke Marshall, Mike Ross, Stander and Ultan Dillane, Murphy was forced to watch from the stands as an Ireland side leading by 16 points in the final quarter suddenly began to haemorrhage yards and points as the Boks went up a gear​ in​ the thin air on the Highveld.

Having viewed that traumatic endgame from afar, Murphy is primed to right the wrongs of Ellis Park:

I think anyone that wasn’t on the pitch always feels that they can always add something to it, it was obviously disappointing; the lads played absolutely fantastic for about 60/65 minutes and then started letting South Africa get a foothold in the game and you can’t really do that against a strong, powerful team like them.

“They punished us in the end, but Rory [Best] did a great job of regrouping us straight after the game. There was a lot of disappointment in the changing room and among the squad but he said ‘look what’s gone is gone now’.

“We’ve got one more chance to make a bit of history and to go out there and get a good win this weekend. We’ve enjoyed the week, the training’s been good and we’re just looking forward to getting out there now.”

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